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first_imgSania Mirza reached the Wimbledon doubles semifinal for the first time in her career after she and Elena Vesnina came from behind to beat Nuria Llagostera Vives and Arantxa Parra Santonja, in London on Wednesday.The fourth seed Indo-Russian pair recorded a 3-6 6-4 7-5 win over the unseeded Spanish pair in the quarter-final.Reaching the quarterfinals with American partner Bathanie Mattek in 2008 was her best performance till Wednesday’s match.The Roland Garros finalists faced stiff resistance from the giant killing Spanish combo but they quickly got back into the rhythm to prevail in a hard-fought battle.Sania and Vesnina will next face the winner of the other quarter-final match between the Chinese pair of Shuai Peng and Jie Zheng and Czech Republic’s Kveta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia.- With PTI inputslast_img read more


first_imgPURPLE, THE COLOUR OF HEALTHA favourite with athletes this time, because it ups aerobic exercise performance by as much as 2 per cent. A daily glass of the nitrate-rich purple juice added to the usual training programmes increases stamina by hiking up the level of nitric acid in the body,,PURPLE, THE COLOUR OF HEALTHA favourite with athletes this time, because it ups aerobic exercise performance by as much as 2 per cent. A daily glass of the nitrate-rich purple juice added to the usual training programmes increases stamina by hiking up the level of nitric acid in the body, which reduces the energy requirements of muscles. So athletes can exercise with less oxygen.SCIENCE OF HUMAN ENDURANCEIf the 20th century was all about learning human physiology, training, and nutrition, this is the century of harnessing science to understand the limits of human endurance. For London 2012, athletes are trying to perfect their act with the help of biomechanists, recovery experts, and statistical analysts. This is how science is helping them to push closer to perfection.CHILL AFTER THE DRILLJumping into an ice bath after a heavy practice session is finding favour with athletes. Hard practice can batter the body by producing waste products such as lactic acid in muscles, tendons, tissues, nerves and bones. The icy water forces blood vessels to tighten and drains the waste products. Excessive lactic acid build-up causes muscles to function poorly.FIND YOUR FAULTSComputer scientists, sports biomechanists and physiologists are studying every minute detail of an athlete’s form during practice. Their techniques are taken by high-speed motion-capture cameras. Athletes and coaches gather with scientists and analyse the videos to understand how they run, sprint or swim and how to better their technique. An Optojump measures the exact location and duration of an athlete’s every step, something that would not have been visible with normal video analysis.advertisementA FIX-IT SUITBritish gymnasts are grabbing headlines because of their vibrating suit, MotivePro. Developed by Birmingham researchers, it makes real-time updates of practice sessions, allowing athletes to perform with inch-perfect accuracy. MotivePro attaches small sensors to the wearer’s skin, so that every stretch and movement sends tiny impulses to a computer connected to the suit, analyses the data and sends it to athletes and their coaches.SWIM FASTER, WITH A LITTLE HELPHistory might be made in the 50-metre pool at London’s Aquatics Centre. With hundreds of madly-spinning discs on the lane dividers, it is one of the most technologically advanced pools ever built. Designed by A&T Europe S.p.a., the discs in the pool will eliminate ambient water energy that impedes a swimmer’s motion and slows them down.last_img read more


first_imgThe wave of joy that sweeps a nation when it bags the first gold medal is hard to describe in words. Sporting heavyweights like China and the US are in a different league though. Winning gold is almost a run-of-the-mill affair for them. On the contrary, only a favourite’s failure makes big news.As for hosts Britain, it’s pedal power to the fore this time. Thanks to a sport called cycling, they have been able to win more gold than critics expected.But it was the boisterous joy which the Irish erupted into at ExCel Arena on Thursday that transported me back in time to when Abhinav Bindra stepped up to the top rung of the victory podium in Beijing.When India’s Goldfinger won four years ago, the celebrations were not so loud. Yes, officials did want to be photographed with the champion and get a feel of the yellow metal. But there was no carnival atmosphere in or around the arena.After Katie Taylor landed blows like a fiery angel and won the Olympics boxing gold on Thursday, the Irish celebrations were spontaneous.It wasn’t as if this was Ireland’s first ever Olympic medal. Yet Katie’s gold was a momentous triumph for the sport-loving people of the country because it came after a 20-year lull.Inside the arena, if Irish fans lent high-decibel support to the boxer, it was sheer joy watching Katie punch the air and fire herself up in the ring on way to bagging the gold.advertisementOtherwise, too, women’s boxing has whipped up the passions of many in London. And with Briton Nicola Adams also winning gold, the partying has been king-size.But the best way the people of any nation could have let their hair down was the manner in which the Irish celebrated. Their media was in full attendance and the ExCel gangways were bustling with boys and girls were draped in their national flag – green, white and orange. The noise levels could have brought the house down.Just before the no-holds-barred revelry began, our very own Geeta Phogat had been put on the mat in the repechage Round Two bout in wrestling. As I tried to make my way out to the bus stand, there was a near stampede. To those celebrating, it did not matter if you were an Irishman, a Briton or anyone else.The loud cheering and blaring music made it a mind-blowing experience. It is this spirit that makes the Olympics special.Yet, apart from the sea of Irish flags that seemed to be coming at me, there was nothing unruly about the fans’ behaviour. Further down the street, I ran into another raucous gang. They were in such high spirits after consuming gallons of beer that even the Bobbies weren’t spared. The cops simply got caught in the sea of humanity.What happened next brought a smile to my face. Katie’s medal effort and, more likely, a generous dose of lager gave some Irish girls an emotional high.They went and hugged a London policemen, planted kisses on his cheeks and got photographed! The lucky chap didn’t know how to react as they were just sharing their joy.Katie has hit the headlines today and I now realise what she has achieved for Ireland. From Evander Holyfield to Oscar De La Hoya, every boxing great has tweeted about her heroics.The sad part is that with no Indian winning a gold medal in London so far, I do miss the revelry that goes with it.Talking of celebration and medals, the plight of the Australians is pitiable. London seems to have become a nightmare for them as they are ninth in the medal tally – behind France and Hungary.It is believed that the medal count of a host country slips in the subsequent edition of the Games. China may have bucked the trend, but the Aussies have suffered a huge slide after hosting the 2000 Games in Sydney.Since it is a nation which goes for broke in every game it plays, we can surely expect some postmortems Down Under.last_img read more


first_imgAfter more than a week-long ‘manhunt’, the woman who wedded many a men and scooted with their valuables and cash was arrested on Saturday.33-year-old Shahnaz used to lay a honey trap, and victims willingly walked in.In fact, for one, Manikandan had fought with his parents to marry Shahnaz who is from a different religion. Such was her overpowering influence on men whom she picked up. She would marry, live for a few weeks and then collect valuables in the house and scoot.And she left a trail of broken hearts, marriages and men counting their losses.Shahnaz was picked up from Bangalore bus stand on Saturday by a special team of Tamil Nadu police which brought her to the all woman police station in Adyar and grilled her about the marriages.”She has confessed to marrying only four and not 50 or 100 as television channels have reported,” said a senior police officer who was among the people who interrogated her. After questioning the woman overnight, she was produced before the Saidapet local magistrate who remanded her in judicial custody for 14 days on Sunday.A resident of Kerala, Shahanaz, had over the past decade, married close to 50 men, estimated by various television channels. But police estimated the number at a more modest 12. The TN police launched a manhunt for the woman after they received several complaints that indicated handiwork of one person and formed special teams to crack the case.Her first marriage is recorded to some 11 years ago in a Kerala village Pathanamthitta where she married one Siddiqe. Her next husband was one Shahnawaj also from Kerala whom too she left for greener pastures. A physically challenged man became her third husband, whom she cheated of Rs 1.1 lakh in cash and gold.Her modus operandi – identify and target men with money and marry and then scoot with the loot.But for her fourth victim she came to Chennai, police official handling the case said. She used to work in different areas, in shops and establishments and look out for a victim. From 2006 to the present day, her operations across Tamil Nadu ended in at least eight marriages, police estimate. She is also alleged to have emptied out the cash box of a supermarket where she was working – a sum of Rs 1.85 lakh – in Trichy.Her latest victim was one Prasanna, a football player and sports goods salesman in a shop. Just a rung senior to him in getting cheated by the con woman was Manikandan, who works in a motor garage in Vepery area in South Chennai.Prasanna had married her in March this year while Manikandan tied the knot last year. Incidentally a few film stars also attended his wedding reception last year. These two, Prasanna and Manikandan had filed police complaints agaist Shahnaz. Three other similar complaints were already pending with different police stations and when bunched together, it was suspected that to be the handiwork of one person and investigations began in this direction.Finally, with the clues given by the victims as also detective policing and cell phone records, the police located her to be in Bangalore and arrested her from the bus stop.advertisementlast_img read more


first_imgSuhaib Ilyasi proved too clever for the fugitivesSushila Chedda’s modus operandi was simple: stay in a posh locality in Mumbai, become a confidante of the neighbours, get their original housing documents, insert her own name in the photocopies and then sell or mortgage the flats to real estate agents using,Suhaib Ilyasi proved too clever for the fugitivesSushila Chedda’s modus operandi was simple: stay in a posh locality in Mumbai, become a confidante of the neighbours, get their original housing documents, insert her own name in the photocopies and then sell or mortgage the flats to real estate agents using the fake papers. She would probably have succeeded again.This time as Pratima Shah in Geeta Colony in Anand, Gujarat. Having convinced the residents of being a devout lady, she borrowed money to launch a herbal cosmetics export business. She also promised to give six gullible girls a break in the movies.But there was one loophole Sushila forgot to plug: television – and a programme on it called India’s Most Wanted (IMW). A neighbours happened to see an episode on Sushila’s activities in Mumbai. The face seemed suspiciously familiar.Only the hair was a bit longer and she was sporting glasses now. Yes, the Sushila who had duped people of about Rs 4 crore in Mumbai was none other than the lady next door. The police were promptly alerted and Sushila found that her game was up.So did nine other criminals before her. And all of them courtesy IMW, a unique interactive show which airs every Tuesday night on Zee TV. It recreates unsolved crime cases and solicits public participation in getting vital leads about absconding criminals. Result: 10 outlaws have already been caught in a span of seven months and 33 episodes.The show is faring equally well on the other yardstick of success – the TRPs – getting a rating of 10-12 on an average on the INTAM scale. It figures among the top 10 programmes in cable and satellite homes across India.advertisement”Its ratings have been steadily climbing and for October it was Zee’s second most watched show after Amanat,” says Ranjan Bakshi, Zee’s vice-president, corporate communications. Producer-director Suhaib Ilyasi claims the serial earns about Rs 70 lakh per week as ad revenue for the channel, fetching Rs 70,000 for a 10-second spot. No wonder Zee has decided to extend its 52-episode run to 104 now. “The show will run as long as there are criminals and cases,” declares Bakshi.Ilyasi himself has come a long way from managing the show on his own to having a 30-member team to back him up. “Initially I visited several states to collect the stories,” he says. Now the viewers and a regular network of 300 freelance journalists constantly bring home all the information.His show has already covered 50 cases and he has material for 200 more. “On an average we receive about 15 important cases a month,” he says. The channel itself has set up a special cell to handle the viewer response to the show.”Any letter could be a tip-off,” says Bakshi. The channel receives 10,000 letters a day for the show, of which about 600 detail viewers’ own experiences of fraud or injustice. About 15 of these are treated on a priority basis.The police were apprehensive of the show initially. It was seen as an interference in their work. But some dogged persistence and help from Delhi Police officials like Deepak Mishra, the then DCP (West), Qamar Ahmad, DCP (Crime), and B.S. Bola, DCP (Special Branch), made life easier. The programme gets its information not just from the police but also from the victims and witnesses.”The idea is to offer a balanced perspective,” says Ilyasi. The result is a rather delicate, tenuous relationship he shares with the police. “They are supportive but there have been times when the police have not been too happy,” admits Ilyasi. Like his depiction of the Connaught Place shoot-out in which innocent people were mistaken for criminals and shot dead.”The serial isn’t propaganda for the police,” he declares. Another episode which stirred a hornet’s nest was on Chandraswami’s possible involvement in the killing of journalist Rajendra Jain, a prime witness in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. Yet another important one was on sandalwood smuggler Veerappan.IMW was initially greeted with scepticism by viewers and critics. Tacky show, bad acting – complaints were aplenty. Also that it was copied from America’s Most Wanted. Ilyasi himself claims he was inspired by Crime Stoppers, which he saw in England while working for TV Asia in the early ’90s.But the show continues to tick. Media analyst Akhila Sivadas thinks it is the spontaneous yet crude recreation of crime which has yielded so much viewer response. “It gives the feel as if the crime is happening in your backyard. Any bit of sophistication would have killed the drama,” she says.advertisementIlyasi too admits that he deliberately doesn’t go for established actors. The idea is to hook the people with the narrative. “They must retain the strong impact and react to it,” says Ilyasi. But this deliberate high pitch also has its pitfalls.”The prolonged scenes can hurt the sensibilities,” says Sivadas. The police have similar reservations about the show. “Criminals do get caught. But the graphic details may give ideas to others,” says Delhi Police’s Satyendra Garg, DCP (North West).Both Garg and Sivadas believe this has to do with the nature of television itself. “TV establishes an instant rapport with the audience,” says Sivadas. “But it’s also an unmediated relationship that can have an adverse impact,” she says.Garg feels the dramatic element of the show needs to be toned down. “Also all they show are just routine criminals and not really the most wanted in India. Some homework needs to be done here,” says Garg.Despite its detractors the success run continues. The latest is that IMW has inspired PTV to launch a similar show. Time to make way for Pakistan’s Most Wanted.last_img read more


first_imgOH, funny, awful things I remember about my childhood,” says the attractive dark-eyed girl in blue jeans and an FU’s T-shirt. She’s just come down from giving her two-year-old son a bath. Pausing to reminisce over a cup of coffee she might be any housewife taking a breather after a morning of household chores. She’s not, though. And her childhood, which she says was “magical” and “fairytale-like” was also full of embarrassments that she’s learnt to laugh about today. “On my first day in school,” she says, “the whole school came out to be photographed with me. I was three years old. For the six years I was in the convent in Srinagar I wasn’t allowed to eat with the other kids. My lunch came separately, and I ate it with a cousin in a separate little parlour. My class tests were sometimes rigged: I’d get full marks even when I’d made mistakes. Once an awful thing happened on sports day. I was made to win the one-legged race, when it was certain that another boy should have won it. Apparently he was told not to. He was so furious when I got the first prize, he picked up a clump of bicchu buti and ran after me, till I was taken howling home. Things became so bad that my parents were forced to send me to a public school.”Chauhan: ‘My class tests were sometimes rigged’This is Jyoti Chauhan, 26, daughter of the former maharaja of Kashmir, speaking about her years at Presentation Convent, Srinagar, from 1960 to 1966.”SCHOOL?” asks the portly member of Parliament, dressed in a carefully-chosen combination of sky blue and white: a white Cardin belt holding up his blue trousers, a blue silk handkerchief peeping from the breast pocket of his white jacket and an expensive Cartier watch shining on his chubby wrist. “For me going to school was like going home. When I went to Mayo aged nine, I lived in my own three-bedroomed bungalow on the campus, with its own drawing and dining, its own kitchen and large garden. I had three cars – a French Delage and two Chevrolets – and maybe a dozen polo ponies. A retinue of about 25 servants travelled to school from Gujarat with me. The comptroller of my household was my English guardian, Brig, Howson. I wore a white achkan, churidars and safa in class and was expected to dress for dinner in a black sherwani. If I wanted to invite schoolboys to eat with me, I had to write off letters weeks in advance. There were no dormitories, no common toilets or mess room. When Mayo became a public school from being a prince’s school in 1943 my parents were so worried about my discomfort, they rented a house for me outside the campus. Much to my irritation, servants would leave extra chocolates and biscuits in my room.”advertisementEveryday existence, as a result, can get sharply schizophrenic. Princely types may assume anonymity in the cosmopolitan life of New Delhi or Bombay but, back at the palace, life is slower to catch up.Jaideep Singh: ‘Going to school was like going home’This is Jaideep Singh, 54, formerly the maharaja of Baria and now a Congress(I) MP from Gujarat talking about his years at Mayo College, Ajmer, from 1939 to 1947.OBVIOUSLY, going to school for the maharajas will never be the same again. Even between the 1940s and 1960s things had changed – no dressing for dinner under stern English eyes for the young Kashmir princess – but what has changed in the 1980s? Everything and nothing.Twelve years after the last of their privileges was abolished by an act of Parliament, the scions of the erstwhile Indian ruling elite are trying to get their act together. They’re trying to joke about the old days, forget about the raw deal the Government gave them, and get a firm, new grip on their double lives.Some have cracked up under the pressure of change; others remain absurd social anachronisms pursuing obsolescent cultural codes; while others have adapted their inherited privileges of power and wealth to become captains of Parliament and industry. But the duality dogs them all.Last summer, the ailing maharaja of Jaisalmer died of a brain tumour. He was about 50. His widow, a beautiful Nepali princess, went into mourning inside the palace for a year. She was required to wear cotton saris of an indigo blue. She was expected to receive no male visitors, except the closest of relations. For a year she could not stir out of her apartment inside the sprawling fortress-palace. The maharaja had once been a politician.advertisementNot a very active one, being prone to bouts of drinking and depression. In later years he gave up Parliament, went back to the palace in Jaisalmer, and surrounded himself with his few old retainers and courtiers. “He never moved out of Jaisalmer,” says a close relative, “it was as if he had regressed into the past. He just chose to slide back into the old world and die.”Last year, the erstwhile ruler of a prominent city in Rajasthan held his birthday durbar inside the City Palace. Not a durbar in the old style – when visiting nobles would pay homage to the ruler by drowning him in gold sovereigns – but a celebration adapted to modern times. Old remaining members of the city’s nobility and their wives were invited to attend.The women were expected to dress in mandatory chiffon saris – preferably in the colour of Oxford blue. They sat apart from the men. rigid with formality on hard-backed chairs. When “His Highness” entered, they bowed low in greeting, hissing endless hukams and huzoors and, the more respectful among them, rapidly downed the ends of their saris in elaborate purdah.Waiters were carrying around trays of drinks-this was, after all, a bit of a party – and being good Rajput ladies few could decline. They were soon observed knocking back the whiskies inside their purdah. “It was the funniest sight on earth,” chuckled a younger Rajput who refused to resort to the double standard of sinning-unseen. “The only problem, of course, was they couldn’t light cigarettes. It would have sent their saris up in smoke.”Old traditions die hard. Especially for a group of people, some of whom claim direct descent from the Gods, who were born to rule. Transplanted into democratic India, greatness is thrust upon them. They still control large mandates in the states they come from.With their gilded palaces and carriages, their inherent religious and social superiority and enormous private wealth, they are figures of glamour and gossip. Back in their state they still personify the symbol of authority to the peasant. In contemporary life, they continue to represent a powerful lobby in the public eye.Everyday existence, as a result, can get sharply schizophrenic. They may assume anonymity in the cosmopolitan life of New Delhi or Bombay but life inside the palace is slower to catch up. “What can you do if old servants still touch your feet in Jammu?” asks Jyoti Chauhan.Raje: ‘I could never walk down a Gwalior street alone'”No. I could never walk down the street in Gwalior alone,” says Vasundhara Raje, a Gwalior princess who married the heir of the erstwhile Dholpur family. Both girls, whose respective parents are political veterans, admit that villagers prostrating themselves before their old rulers remains a common sight on constituency tours.Gaj Singh: ‘Coming home was a double shock’Gaj Singh, the young descendant of Jodhpur maharajas who was earlier India’s high commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago, says that when “people touch my feet or prostrate themselves in villages, it’s not just a personal act; they’re paying homage to a symbol, to a tradition that still lingers.” Singh is affectionately called “Bapji”, even by his close family and friends though the nickname – literally meaning “father” – was coined by the people of Jodhpur for their ruler.A dapper 36, Singh divides his time between his homes in New Delhi and Jodhpur, looking after his properties and business interests which include the Umaid Bhawan Palace Hotel now managed by a leading hotel chain. Brought up in England – he was four years old when his father died and he was invested as maharaja – he had just taken his degree at Cambridge and was returning to India overland with friends when he was hurriedly summoned home to face the abolition of privy purses.advertisementAs royal tours proliferate and palace hotels become more lavishly ritzy, some have discovered that if politics won’t pay, trading their name and assets might.”It was a double shock,” he says, “one of assuming responsibility and another of completely restructuring my whole life-style.”In 1971, the transition from Cambridge to Jodhpur was painful for Singh. In 1950, Jaideep Singh had made exactly the same transition – when his grandfather died suddenly – from Cambridge to Baria to face large assets, new taxation laws, settlements of properties and staff.”But the succession was kept alive because of privy purses and privileges.” He was not a ruling maharaja but the title and power remained. Gaj Singh of Jodhpur, 20 years later, was only ruler in name. “And my son Shivraj, now aged seven,” he says, “will have no official status whatsoever.”Still, signs of the old life linger. Gaj Singh makes it a point to be back in Jodhpur for important festivals like Holi and Diwali. On his official birthday – calculated each year according to the Hindu calendar – he has a little tea party which is announced publicly. “Not a durbar,” he clarifies gently, “we just put a small advertisement in the local papers.If any of the people want to turn up, they’re welcome.” But when he has a party in Delhi invitations with the Jodhpur crest and his title are sent out. Princely types of all age-groups show up in abundance. Introductions are made according to title and rank. Some semblance of protocol is observed in greeting and conversation. Women cover their heads with their saris discreetly. Men bow low to say khamagani – the Rajput greeting. The air is thick once again with the sound of hukam and huzoor.THE formality remains a part of life. “I just couldn’t be on first name terms with an older Rajput,” says Vasundhara Raje, “it would come naturally to address them as hukam or maharaj, to sit straight up before them, to mind my p’s and q’s in conversation. Unless they were younger or contemporaries. I would be expected to use their title when making an introduction or even when speaking of them with a third person.”Raje, a lively 32-year-old who lives alone with her 10-year-old son, says she feels embarrassed herself if she’s introduced as the “Maharani of Dholpur” and normally sticks to Mrs Singh when she meets new people. Adds Jodhpur: “I frequently check in as plain Mr Singh into hotels and frankly I don’t care a hoot if I’m called maharaja or not.But I’m proud of my link with Jodhpur and would always like that to be known. Sometimes the title is used for courtesy, and sometimes for information.” But all of them admit to titles being useful, especially abroad.Many of them have learnt, through trial, error or plain necessity, that the aura can reap rich harvests. Some may have been driven to dipsomania trying to make it work, but the more enterprising have kept the maharaja industry multiplying. Hard sell has replaced the hard luck history of the early 1970s. Books on royal India get more numerous daily. Princely biographies are lapped up eagerly. As royal tours proliferate and palace hotels become more lavishly ritzy, some have discovered, that if politics won’t pay, trading their name and assets might.While the bigger guns among them have taken over the most prestigious segment of the hotel industry – the Kashmir, Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Mysore and Gwalior families al; have palace hotels – and still others like the Baroda and Gwalior princes have major interests in the textile industry, it’s the smaller princes who’ve had to flog their treasures to survive.This has spawned an enormously successful trade in precious jewellery and antiquities which flow into the market from seemingly bottomless troves. The more illustrious among the families have converted sections of their palaces into museums and charitable trusts that enshrine their history and heirlooms. Smaller princelings have emerged as lounge-lizard wheeler-dealers who trade on behalf of their richer cousins.Dealing in money for the princes has been the hardest reality to accept. The commercial instinct was never particularly finely honed among ruling families – in fact it was plainly despised. “Most of the princes had no business acumen.When some ruling princes in my grandfather’s time began to speculate on the stock exchange, he used to scorn them. Rulers were expected to be above money,” says Jaideep Singh. Financial ineptitude has been the biggest scourge among princely families. Combined with family litigation it has abruptly ended many a noble lineage. Disaster stories abound on the princely circuit.A few years ago, Pratap Singh, the young maharaja of Alwar, shot himself through his head. Involved in a local property dispute he simply refused to permit city officials to enter with search warrants. Rounding up the horses off his stud farm, the odd remaining elephant, and letting loose his pretty wife’s pet lioness and army of Great Danes, he laid siege around the Phoolbagh Palace. For three days he held out.When the police finally infiltrated they found the young man dead. “He really believed in visions of ancient Rajput valour,” says a cousin of his, “he actually thought this was the way for a true Rajput to die than give himself up.”More recently, a younger half-brother of the Jodhpur family, stormed out of his Jodhpur home at night brandishing a sword. Apparently under the influence of alcohol his purpose was to reclaim an old property, a rest house, that he believed was rightly his. His body was later found hacked to bits in the dark by the same sword.Such instances, argue members of the inter-related princely network are rare. Younger members of the former feudal, and sometimes feuding families, disagree. “We’re a pretty confused, mixed-up bunch,” says a former ruler’s son, born after Independence, and brought up like a plain upper class kid, with a tough grounding in business management. “You’ll hear dozens of such stories. But they will all concern the pre-Independence generation who just couldn’t face the change. Many of them went bananas or retreated like ghosts into their palaces. We are trying to retrieve lost ground, in both politics and business.” Plain non-performance in politics has also terminated many a princely ruler’s career. “Previously you could have been elected on the basis of being a princely ruler,” says Rajmata Vijaye Raje Scindia, a Rajya Sabha MP. “Not any more, Ruler or not, you’re accountable to the people.” Adds Jaideep Singh: “Every single prince who fought the first election won it. If they fell by the wayside later it was because they didn’t know what was expected of them or they had nothing to offer to the people.””The fact that we’re princes is immaterial now,” says Digvijay Sinh, deputy minister for environment in Mrs Gandhi’s Cabinet, “What is important is our ability to stand up to time.” Sinh won his election from Surendranagar constituency in Gujarat which encompasses the old family state of Wankaner, on the plank of creating a new Central ministry devoted to environment and ecology.Like other successful erstwhile princes, he’s got there by turning his disadvantage into advantage. But does the royal order of old border on extinction? Princes may slowly disappear, but the concept of dynasty stays. A lovely princess from Central India with flashing eyes takes up the issue of what’s in a name – for that is the heart of the matter – sharply. “Dynasties,” she says,”never went out of fashion in India.The architectural follies of the maharajas were no more absurd or wasteful than the Asiad edifices. Our durbars were no more ostentatious than the Non-aligned meet. Palace intrigue in an old state was never more pernicious than New Delhi’s palace politics. Why crown us, then, with all the shame and jaded glory?” So what’s changed? Everything and nothing.last_img read more


first_imgAmanda Nunes, right, celebrates after defeating Cris Cyborg in the UFC women’s featherweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 232, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2018, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)INGLEWOOD, California — Amanda Nunes knocked out Cris “Cyborg” Justino 51 seconds into the first round at UFC 232 on Saturday night, ending the featherweight champion’s 13-year unbeaten run with one of the most surprising victories in mixed martial arts history.Jon Jones also reclaimed his light heavyweight title in his return from a 17-month cage absence, stopping Alexander Gustafsson with strikes on the ground in the third round.ADVERTISEMENT Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue View comments SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Jones returned from his first doping suspension with a stoppage of Cormier in July 2017 to reclaim his light heavyweight title, but he lost the belt again after testing positive for steroids.A capacity crowd of 15,862 in Southern California watched another groundbreaking achievement by Nunes, the ferocious brawler who calls herself “The Lioness.” Nunes also knocked out Ronda Rousey in less than a minute two years ago.“I’m taking care of myself, working hard physically and mentally,” Nunes said. “I felt stronger in this division, more powerful, and continued to be very fast. I don’t know what comes next. Now I want to celebrate with my friends and family in Brazil.”Nunes’ punching power is often too much for her male sparring partners, and she carved up Justino with astonishing ease despite a size disadvantage. Justino had won 20 consecutive fights since her MMA debut in 2005, and she had dominated since the inception of the UFC’s 145-pound division, which was created largely as a showcase for Cyborg’s talent.Earlier, Australian featherweight prospect Alexander Volkanovski (19-1) won his 16th straight bout in the PPV opener, stopping veteran Chad Mendes with right hands in the second round of a back-and-forth bout. Michael Chiesa also won his welterweight debut with a second-round submission of former champ Carlos Condit, who lost his fifth straight fight.Former UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn tapped out for the first time in his MMA career, losing to Brazilian jiu-jitsu whiz Ryan Hall on a heel hook in the first round. Penn (16-13-2), an MMA pioneer who turned 40 this month, is 0-6-1 in his last seven fights since 2010.Despite the late move to LA, the UFC sold out the Forum after just six days of ticket sales. The crowd included Justino friend Halle Berry, Dolph Lundgren, David Spade, NL MVP Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers, Travis Barker, Mick Foley and Amber Valletta.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:19Magalong: Albayalde also got SUV out of ‘agaw bato’ operation in 201300:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. center_img BREAKING: Corrections officer shot dead in front of Bilibid Nunes, the UFC’s bantamweight champion, made history when she moved up 10 pounds to challenge Justino (20-2), widely considered the world’s greatest female fighter. Nunes is the third fighter in UFC history to hold two title belts simultaneously, joining Conor McGregor and Daniel Cormier.“I knew this was happening, I told you all!” Nunes said. “Cris is a great fighter, nothing but respect. It was an awesome opportunity to share the octagon with her. I’m very thankful to her for this. I’m the new ‘champ-champ.’ I said that before, and now I’m just achieving this dream.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionNunes (17-4) was thought to be an undersized underdog, but she seized her second title belt by overwhelming her fellow Brazilian. Nunes buckled Justino’s knees in the opening seconds, and she eventually knocked down Justino twice.She ended the fight spectacularly with an overhand right to the ear, putting Justino face-down on the canvas. LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Cristiano Ronaldo brace seals new record for Juventus Just six days after the UFC moved the entire 232 card from Las Vegas to the famous Forum south of downtown Los Angeles, Jones (23-1, 1 no-contest) closed the show with a methodical dismantling of Gustafsson (18-5). The bout was a rematch of Jones’ toughest fight, a thrilling decision in 2013 over Gustafsson.But in Jones’ first fight since completing his second drug-related suspension, the star picked apart Gustafsson with kicks in the first two rounds. He got a takedown in the third and finished the fight with several brutal shots to Gustafsson’s head on the ground.“It was always about being the champion again,” Jones said. It was never about the opponent, nothing personal. I’m just happy with my belt, and for now I want to go back to the gym and improve my game.”The UFC made the extraordinary decision to move its show 280 miles to California to keep Jones on the card. The former champion recently tested positive for low levels of a banned steroid, but California regulatory officials didn’t consider the result serious enough to keep the long-troubled star out of the octagon, while Nevada’s commission did.The 31-year-old Jones had fought only twice in the previous 47 months, losing an enormous chunk of his fighting prime due to his misbehavior. He held the UFC’s 205-pound title twice before, but had it stripped both times.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola?last_img read more


first_imgThe JEE (Main) counseling which was scheduled to begin from July 1 will start only once the All India Ranks are declared. AIRs are to be announced on July 7 by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). The final schedule and flow chart will be uploaded thereafter.The delay has taken place due to the failure of state boards who could not submit their data on time. The candidates are required to check and confirm their marks JEE Mains has received by the respective examination board. The candidates can view their current marks as recorded by JEE Mains by selecting their education board, inserting their application number, JEE Mains roll number and date of birth. In case of any discrepancy, candidates will be required to upload their official mark sheet. The last date for the same is July 3.In case of any clarification, the candidates can write to jeeboardmarks@gmail.com giving ‘Confirmation of Class 12th Board Marks’ in subject line.The list of participating institutes can be checked here: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/education/story/jee-mains-participating-institutes/1/369109.htmlThis year, the counseling session consists of four rounds of seat allotment, followed by a spot admission round.Around 12.5 lakh engineering aspirants appeared for the exam and are waiting for their All India Rankings. The JEE (main) ranks will be used for admissions to undergraduate engineering and architecture courses at the NITs, IIITs and other centrally funded technical institutions across India.last_img read more


first_imgDate: 5th August 2014Venue: The Lalit Hotel, Connaught Place, New DelhiName of Vehicle: Fiat Punto EvoPrice(in lakhs):  4.55-7.19Description:The erstwhile Grande Punto from Fiat Motors has now become ‘Grander’ with the launch of the new Punto Evo. The vehicle has been created exclusively for the Indian buyer and comes with several features that enhance the overall ownership experience. With respect to the older model, the Evo gets a new front grille that appears to have less teeth. Headlamps are completely different, which are oblong in shape now.On the inside, Punto Evo comes with rear AC vents and a bottle holder as well. Seats are reinforced with metal for best comfort. The front fascia comes with a piano finish centre console and interiors are classified as “Soft Touch”.  From the outside, the Punto Evo now has a sportier stance than earlier. It gets class-leading 195mm of ground clearance, which, according to Mr. Nagesh Basavanahalli, President and Managing Director of Fiat Chrysler India Operations, has been incorporated by virtue of feedback from customers.The car is available in two petrol and two diesel engine options. The following seven variants are on offer:   Fuel Variant  Price (Ex-showroom New Delhi) PetrolActive 1.2L Petrol  4.55,724 Petrol  Dynamic 1.2L Petrol 5,12,316 Petrol Emotion 1.4L Petrol 6,65,929 Diesel Active 1.3L Diesel  5,27,000 Diesel Dynamic 1.3L Diesel  6,21,602 Diesel Emotion 1.3L Diesel 6,83,580 Diesel Sport 1.3 L 93 PS Diesel 7,19,990      On the same lines, seven colours have also been made available for the vehicle. It has already started appearing at various dealerships across New Delhi and, according to Mr. Nagesh, is generating a lot of excitement. Enquiries for pre-booking have already started coming in.  advertisement Special Features:”    Automatic headlamps”    Ambient lighting (a first in the B-Segment)”    Smart rain-sensing wipers”    16-inch Alloy wheels- bigger and wider than earlier”    2 Stage driver airbags”    Fire Prevention SystemVerdict:Fiat has always made great cars with great engines, and the new Punto Evo is no different. The design studio from Turin in Italy has once again come up with an amazing product that oozes European styling and class. What remains to be seen is how well Fiat is able to sell this product and provide services for the same. Ever since Mr. Nagesh has taken over, a lot of attention has been given to services and today, Fiat has 116 service centers located across India. In the future:Fiat Chrysler India has earmarked four new products for 2014, the first of which was the new Linea and the second was Punto Evo. As per Mr. Nagesh, Fiat Avventura, a compact SUV from which the front of the Punto Evo has been inspired, will be launched in 60 days. By December, it is expected that Fiat Abarth 500, a performance hatchback will also be launched.  Wait and watch this space for more.last_img read more


first_imgHontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid In a letter published Friday in The Times of London, Wawrinka decried his sport’s “worrying decline in moral standards” and outlined several aspects of the ongoing drama enveloping the men’s tour — and causing more of a racket than the rackets themselves.“I feel compelled to express my views on this regrettable period in our sport,” said Wawrinka, who once was ranked as high as No. 3 and is currently 33rd after a series of injuries. “This episode has left many players, myself included, concerned about the direction tennis is heading in.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThere certainly has been a lot going on behind the scenes with regard to who runs the men’s professional tour, and lately it’s been spilling into public view. The conversation is sure to continue until a key vote for the ATP board of directors takes place May 14 in Rome — and through the next Grand Slam tournament, which begins at Roland Garros on May 26.Wawrinka slammed the representatives on the board and the player council, saying the problem is not with the governing structure but the caliber of the people in positions of importance. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting FILE – In this Feb. 17, 2019 file photo, Stan Wawrinka, of Switzerland, clenches his fist after scoring a point against Gael Monfils, of Franc,e in the men’s singles final of the ABN AMRO world tennis tournament at Ahoy Arena in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Three-time Grand Slam champion Wawrinka says there has been a “worrying decline in moral standards” in tennis as “politics have overshadowed the action on the courts.” In a letter published Friday, May 3 in The Times of London, Wawrinka discusses the case of Justin Gimelstob, the ex-player, coach and TV commentator who resigned this week from the ATP board of directors after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault for attacking a former friend. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)Tennis is in turmoil as the French Open approaches.As three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka put it: “Politics have overshadowed the action on the courts.”ADVERTISEMENT Bucks turn back Celtics for 2-1 edge as Antetokounmpo drops 32 PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Wawrinka’s letter mentions “political chaos” and the “numerous conflicts of interest” that plague tennis. It also prominently discusses a topic about which he already had been outspoken: Justin Gimelstob, the ex-player, coach and TV commentator who resigned from the tour board this week after pleading no contest to misdemeanor assault for attacking a former friend. While Gimelstob’s case still was pending, he was allowed to remain in his powerful ATP post.The 42-year-old American was sentenced April 22 to three years of probation, 60 days of community service and a year’s worth of anger management classes for what prosecutors said was Gimelstob’s attack of Randall Kaplan as they trick-or-treated with their kids in Los Angeles on Halloween in 2017.In a statement to the court, Kaplan said Gimelstob struck him multiple times and threatened to kill him.“There is no place in our sport for those who behave like Justin. The lack of responses from people involved in the game, particularly at the beginning of this saga, when he was charged last December, was alarming,” Wawrinka wrote. “This is a situation where silence amounts to complicity.”Wawrinka also referred to what he called a “concerted plot” to oust Chris Kermode as executive chairman and president of the ATP. Kermode’s departure was announced in March after a vote by the board of directors.ADVERTISEMENT View comments Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anewcenter_img Rafael Nadal, who has won 11 of his 17 Grand Slam titles at the French Open, was among those who said they were not consulted before the decision was made to push out Kermode when his current term closes at the end of 2019.“Many players feel that they were not represented properly throughout the last few months, during which so much has happened politically. I agree with them,” Wawrinka wrote. “I do not want to be associated with anyone who played a part in this, let alone be represented by them. I want to be represented by people with clear, strong ethical values.”Novak Djokovic, who was involved in the Kermode situation through his position as president of the ATP player council, conceded that the business matters might have taken a toll on his performance.After earlier-than-expected losses at Indian Wells and Miami, the top-ranked Djokovic said: “Way too many things off the court. I guess that affected me a little bit on the court.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue MOST READ SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte LATEST STORIESlast_img read more